Friday, 29 July 2011

Louie, Louie You're Gonna Cry!

“Every episode has a goal, and if it messes up with the goal of another episode… I just don’t care” Louis CK

When it comes to drama The Nathalie and I don’t always see eye to eye. In fact in the last couple of years a war has been declared between her (Breaking Bad) and me (MadMen, House) with Justified and The Wire being the only two dramas that the mention of their name will make us cease fire, put our fists down and discuss, with just as much passion, how much those series’ are brilliant. 

Lucky for her, and for the poor people we both know, who found themselves involved whether they like it or not, when it comes to comedy, at least for now, not only do we share love for the same kind of humour, sometimes we are the only ones who share it, which makes the people we know not so lucky after all.

Louis CK has been a stand up comedian in the US for over 20 years, opening for Jerry Seinfeld and working on the usual talk shows. In fashion with his generation and most quality comedy of today, CK’s humour is black, wild, non pc and rude. Oh and very funny. He is a loveable loser, evil in his humour but impossible to hate. In 2009 FX (?) has given him very little money, but no limitation to create his new show Louie, in which he is writing directing, producing, starring and apparently editing. This doesn't sound like something that would usually appeal to me, but Louie is not usual.

The general premise of Louie is loosely based on CK’s life as a divorced middle aged man with 2 daughters, but this doesn't really do justice to the show. It is made out of a collection of his stand up comedy clips and random moments in life, frequently surreal and usually represent what might go on in his head rather than what actually happens. As a result Louie is often bizarre, always surprising and always very funny.

Louie gives you a glimpse into Louis CK’s brain, which alarmingly (or not) I find is very similar to mine. What could I, never married, still finding myself, living in London, originally from Israel, mid thirties gal, possibly have in common with a middle aged divorced New Yorker, originally from Washington D.C? With kids (!)

Despite his black and wicked humour, Louie shows that actually Louis CK has a genuinely good heart and really good, sometimes maybe too good, intentions. This makes him stand out from all other comedians of his time. It is hard to imagine Ricky Gervais (guest appearing in 2 episodes) or Larry David trying so hard to impress a girl or making an effort to cook a nice dinner to their children. I can't even imagine them having children at all.

CK’s good nature constantly clashes with reality and provides a strong contrast to his black humour. The shattering scene in which his younger daughter tells him she loves mum more than him and prefers living with her while he is lovingly brushing her teeth, makes it less cringing when, in his stand up, he says he wishes they were never born just as much as he loves them. This turns him from just another bitter middle aged man to a heart warming gentle soul. 

Louie is currently half way through the second season on FX channel[1] and it continues pretty much in the same direction as the first season, perhaps sharper and even more poignant than before.

The way the show is built, you can join it at any point. Each episode has its own agenda and stands independently. Bear in mind, having an agenda doesn’t guarantee that the episode will have an internal continuous logic. Nevertheless, you should watch all of it, simply because that together with community, Louie is not only the funniest comedy on television these days but also the bravest.

[1] FX channel is quite a strange channel, but it keeps picking unusual and excellent shows.

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